Sunday, July 17, 2016

Multi-messenger Astronomy

Recently, I was invited to give a talk at the Von Braun Astronomical Society. It was a wonderful experience. I am very passionate about science and astrophysics, and I am always excited to be able to share that passion with others in the community. In all honesty, when I was younger, I didn't appreciate those like Neil deGrasse Tyson and other "pop-physicists" who were so focused on scientific outreach. Over the years, however, I realized that what they do is so important. Given that there are so many people who are so ignorant about science, I think it is extremely important for us as scientists to try to reach out and share what we do and how science works with the people around us.

That being said, my talk was about multi-messenger astronomy. The key point was that we are living in a very exciting time with regard to astronomical exploration. Man has been fascinated with the stars since the dawn of time. Then in the late 1500's, Galileo came along and pointed this new invention, the telescope, up toward the heavens, and he revolutionized science. I had a professor as an undergrad who said that the telescope was mankind's greatest invention, and I believe that there may be some truth in that. Since that time, we have used the whole of the electromagnetic spectrum from the very low energy energy cosmic microwave background radiation left over from the big bang all the way to the very energetic light of gamma rays from exploding stars to explore the universe. We have discovered so much about the universe since that time, and I am sure Galileo could not have even imagined some of the things we have found, from galaxies and black holes to dark matter and dark energy. Now, in the past few years, we have started to build new types of telescopes. We have begun to explore gravitational waves with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO). On top of that we have started to look for the tiniest of particles called neutrinos from the cosmos in experiments such as the IceCube Neutrino Observatory.

These two new observatories, LIGO and IceCube, are looking into the heavens for the first time, just like when Galileo first pointed his telescope up into the sky. And just like Galileo, we have no idea what we will find. We are living in a very exciting time for the exploration of the universe and I look forward to our next steps!

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Another Overdue Update

The past month has been somewhat busy... Though to be honesty, it always feels busy. I am still trying to get caught up on reading. I am trying to get back into hobbies that had to take a backseat to grad school. I am also looking for jobs inside and outside of academia. I have also been trying to get out and stay active lately. In January, I started to increase my exercise by walking around the neighborhood a few times a week. Since then I have started walking around 3 miles a day 3-5 days a week. On top of that I am getting more involved in Yoseikan. So my exercise level is staying up for the most part.

As far as hobbies go, I recently did some flying and scuba diving. I went flying a couple weeks ago and did a handful of takeoffs and landings so I am at least now day current. It was nice to be able to just work on some landings without having to deal with any other flight planning. It has been a long time since I just did landings by myself. Usually, I am either with my instructor trying to work on something or with some friends and/or family and flying off somewhere for lunch.

A few days after flying I was able to get out and do some scuba diving down at the rock quarry in Pelham. I went down with a few other people either doing training or getting a refresher like myself. It was great to be back in the water again. I forgot how nice it could be. The one downside is that I had a problem with my regulator and now I am going to have to get it repaired before I can use it again, but that was going to happen either way.

The job hunt has been a little slow, but I was so focused on this job at the South Pole, now that I won't be getting that job, it has taken a little bit to get things figured out and to get refocused. I have a few things here and there that I am looking at, but nothing solid yet. I am also excited that in about a week, I will be giving a talk at the Von Braun Astronomical Society about my PhD research and IceCube. It will be the first public talk I have given in a long time, and really the first ever on my research. All of my other talks involving my research have been very technical to other astrophysicists, so this will be a fun experience. I get to try to excite a bunch of amateur astronomers about particle astrophysics!

Overall things are going well. I am just trying to figure out the next step in life. Sometimes it can be stressful, but at other times, it is very exciting. I am very optimistic about what the future holds.